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Divorce: The Ultimate Guide.

Things to consider when selling your home.

Unfortunately, you can’t always plan for every aspect of your life and sometimes the unexpected can happen, such as separation and divorce.

In this case, the biggest non-children related question is generally “who gets the house”?  And yes, you can sell a house during a divorce; It depends on both parties finding alternative accommodations and mutually agreeing to sell the property.

For many couples, a home is their greatest asset. It also may hold sentimental value to one or both sides. Questions of homeownership, be it the division of assets in a sale or who gets to keep the home itself are complicated and can get personal.

For many couples, their shared home is their most valuable asset. In many cases, due to financial, legal, or personal reasons, it makes the most sense to sell the house. But even that comes with questions.

In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about selling a house during a divorce and share some property related tips to help you navigate the situation.

Who gets the Home in divorce?

If you purchased the property as a married couple, generally, both names will be on the house’s deed of ownership. If this is the case, you both own the property jointly.

If the house only has one party on the deed, many deciding factors exist. The most significant, will always be children. Whoever will be the primary carer of the children would ordinarily get to remain in the family home until the youngest child reaches 18 (or 23 if in full-time education).

In the absence of agreement, a judge will consider all factors, including who brought what amount of investment into the original purchase. This will ordinarily be who bought the property, who paid for any furniture, any financial gifts made at the time of purchase and any money spent on the upkeep of the home.

The most important thing to remember is that these contributing factors are only used in a contentious divorce; if both parties decide mutually to sell the property as a division of assets, a judge will invariably agree to the terms.

Remember if you took out a mortgage together, you are both liable for the mortgage payments. So, if your spouse stops paying, you are still responsible for the full amount. Any skipped repayments can affect your credit rating and ability to purchase an alternative property.

Division of other assets in a Divorce.

In some cases, a couple will own multiple financial assets. This may include the family home but can also consist of a second home, a holiday property, a business, cars, stocks, bank accounts, etc. A divorce can be relatively straightforward if the couple can agree on a % split and then accept what asset goes to whom.

Alternatively, one party may be in a position to buy out the other half. (Note: in this scenario, if there is a mortgage on the property, you will have to get approval from your lender, to take the second party off the loan.)

If, for some reason, you cannot decide on a division or what asset goes to which party, then a judge will decide for you. A judge’s decision on how to divide the assets is called “equitable distribution”, and the decision is made based on information submitted to the courts.

Selling the property during a Divorce?

This section assumes that both parties have either agreed to sell, or that a Judge/Court Order has ordered the property be sold.

The first step in selling a property is obtaining a valuation. In short, you need to know what the property is worth in today’s market. The best way to do this is to call an experienced estate agent to provide a market analysis and valuation.

Once you know what the property is worth, you need to decide how quickly you want the property to be sold. Your chosen estate agent will be able to talk you through all the options available.

When to sell a house during Divorce:

This will depend on your circumstances. If both parties can find alternative housing and can agree to sell the home, then there is no better time than the present. Often, couples will wait until the divorce is finalised to sell the house, but it is not necessary to do it that way. Why delay if both parties want to move on?


Choose the right estate agent:

Selling a property relies on communication, which can be especially difficult during a divorce. Make sure that your estate agent has experience.

Through the years, Global Properties have dealt with many sensitive house sales, and we have extensive experience in managing the expectations of both spouses during a time when communication can be more complicated than it once was.

Property Sale and Equity Split:

Once an offer has been accepted on the property, and the appointed Solicitor has completed the paperwork, the property is sold, and the money paid for the home will initially pay off (if any) the outstanding mortgage. The remainder will be paid out to both parties in the proportion agreed/mandated.

For example, if you agreed 50/50, then the money from the sale will pay off any remaining mortgage then the remaining balance would be split equally between spouses.

If you are selling your principal private residence, you are exempt from any capital gains tax. Separating couples should obviously seek specialist tax advice before entering into arrangements that may have Capital Gains Tax implications.

It is important to note that separated/divorced people are treated as “First Time Buyers” when it comes to buying an alternative property, and can avail of associated grants, etc… (terms and conditions apply)

Can I sell our home if my spouse disagrees?

No, if your spouse is named on the deed, or has any money invested in the home, then you could require their consent to sell. Equally, if there are children present in the property, then the courts would typically allow the primary caregiver to remain in the property until the youngest child reaches 18 years of age or 23 if they are in full-time education.

Property Ownership pre-dating marriage:

In general, the courts do not like to add any more burden to the children in a divorce; often, this results in the courts granting the right of residence to the primary caregiver; this even applies when the property was purchased before the marriage.

This often means that the parent who leaves the property has to live in a lesser accommodation while still having to contribute to child support. Although this may seem very unfair, it is the reality of Irish divorce law.

Get in Touch:

At Global Properties we provide valuations for many reasons. Divorce & separation is one of these and we are often called to court as “Expert Witnesses” to provide Valuations. We also sell homes and investment properties where separating parties agree that this is the best outcome.

If you would like to speak to us here at Global Properties about your property, get in touch today. We are happy to help in any way we can.

When you choose Global to be your sales agent, we will streamline the process as much as possible and minimise stress and disruption. One of the many advantages Global Properties has over other agents is our experience.

We have been there before. We will listen to your concerns and requirements and depending on your instructions we can keep one, or both parties informed during the process.

We have 50 years of experience selling homes in Cork City and County. Our experienced team can provide you with a discreet service, including an accurate property valuation in Cork, as well as offering you a full Estate Agent service too.

You can trust that we will do all we can to assist you with the sale of your property at this time. It is always our aim to get you the best possible price for your home as quickly as we can.

Always Seek Legal Advice:

Although this guide is intended to assist individuals considering or actively selling a house during a divorce, it is only a guide. Legal advice should be sought before deciding.

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